Book review: The Speech by Andrew Smith

The Speech by Andrew Smith.
The Speech by Andrew Smith.

Telling a fictional tale of 10 days in the life of a group of interlinked people living in Wolverhampton in 1968, The Speech cleverly weaves together a story which could easily relate to modern day life.

At a time when we seem to be hearing daily about terrifying attacks across the world as a result of racial hatred, The Speech looks back in timeley fashion at incidents much closer to home which, although fictional, are wholly believable.

Covering just 10 days, The Speech revolves around the lead-up and aftermath of the infamous ‘rivers of blood’ speech by Enoch Powell, then Conservative MP for Wolverhampton South West.

The city at the time was facing an influx of immigrants, and Powell’s speech struck a chord with some people while at the same time alienating a large number of Powell’s own constituents.

The speech shook Britain to its core, and the ramifications of what some labelled a “racist diatribe” changed forever the way in which race was viewed and discussed in the United Kingdom.

The Speech follows the lives of a group of characters, including Powell himself, living in Wolverhampton.

A violent crime brings together disparate individuals in the midst of a changing Britain.

As they come together to prove one man’s innocence, they are forced to see the country through new eyes.

The detail contained within the book is impressive, painting a vivid picture of cultural as well as moral life at the time.

The Speech may be fictional, but its idea is one that could so easily transfer to modern life, in an age when politicians such as Donald Trumnp and Nigel Farage have contributed to whipping up a frenzy across the world and caused great unrest and fear among minority groups.